Fast track scaffold for complex project learning and teaming
The focus in higher education is predominantly on the individual. Students are segregated into disciplinary silos. Information for assessment is mainly memorised. By comparison, learning to learn [remotely] in a multidisciplinary team of molecular biologists, telecommunications engineers and linguists, for example, is much harder and produces competitive advantage in the labour market. The more complex, integrated and agile your learning networks are, the harder it becomes for someone to master and duplicate your knowledge levels. This creates tremendous value for industry.
Play is the highest form of research –Albert Einstein
Remote skunkworking with the Spanish Bionenergy Association, Avebiom, eventually led to a first-ever Smart Biomass Workshop — part of a broader feasibility study I designed for Avebiom to determine and assess opportunities for Smart City integration of Biomass thermal and electric energy.
Ahead of the official event with city officials, technology providers and researchers from all over Spain, we live-tested the methodology with a mixed group of architecture, electrical engineering and telecoms students at Universidad Politécnica de Madrid for feedback and fine-tuning. Students figuratively and literally played Lego with building block technologies, institutions and business models to prototype and visualize a whole energy system concept for the neighbourhood area of Argüelles in Madrid.
We sought to sharply shorten the time it takes to build trust and credibility among new and traditional players working on distinct parts of emerging smart energy value chains to integrate complementary expertise and innovate. And to this effect, one of electrical engineering students participating in the workshop prototype wrote: “Here I discovered a system of teamwork I had not yet experienced. Being part of a interdisciplinary group of students from different technical backgrounds has been very enriching (…) in a short space of time you’ve shown us the most important parts of a [systemic design] process that can become very complex—more so when our “technical biases” get in the way. Actually being able to make ideas and concepts tangible for complex energy distribution systems has been a very stimulating, simplified exercise.”
Out of this experience, I envisioned and articulated SwarmED for higher ed students
We tested a condensed 2-day version of the SwarmED pedagogy with Energy Efficiency Masters students “designing persuasive tech to drive demand for energy efficiency” at the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Construction, Universitat Jaume I (Valencia, Spain)